If you want to go on an unforgettable vacation this summer, whether you are going with your old friends or with your family, then Nantucket, Massachusetts, is one of the best destinations in the USA.
The island is relatively small but has more than 25 beaches spread across 80 miles, considered among the best beaches on the East Coast. There you can relax in the sun sipping a craft cocktail or brew, enjoy a swim or some surfing in the clean ocean waters, and enjoy some of the freshest and most delicious lobster rolls and other seafood right on the beach.
But Nantucket is also one of the best-preserved historic towns in New England. The buildings are kept and restored in their original colonial style, and there are iconic cottages with shingles that have become soft gray due to the oceanic climate. The streets are cobblestone, three of the oldest functioning lighthouses still guiding the mariners, and the gardens with hydrangeas and roses are magnificent.
Nantucket has become a top culinary destination with some of the best restaurants, bistros, and bars.
Some of the most exclusive boutiques can be found in downtown Nantucket as well.
But, this island is not only for the wealthy and the famous. You and your friends or family can easily book one of the many available vacation rentals spread all around Nantucket. By sharing the rent with your friends, you can save money for more fun on your vacation.
The least expensive and most fun way to get to the island is to take the Steamship Authority ferry or the Hy-Line Cruises ferry from Hyannis in Cape Cod. But you can also fly to the Nantucket Memorial Airport.
There are various ways to get around the island without bringing over or renting a car, including rented bikes, regular shuttle buses, taxis, and shared-ride services.
But for the ultimate adventure, you can rent a 4WD vehicle and get a special beach permit to take a wild ride on one of the several beaches where driving is allowed in Nantucket.
Some of the other best attractions and places which a gentleman will enjoy equally if not more with his family in Nantucket includes:
The Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum
Nantucket used to be called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” There are hundreds of shipwrecks around the island. In fact, over 700 ships have gone aground, and this museum is dedicated to remembering these events. It also commemorates the bravery of the locals, who often risked their lives in attempts to save the crews and the ships.
In this museum, which is easy to reach via bike or cab from town, you will see multiple artifacts, actual objects from the wrecks, and models and pictures of the different ships that ended up stuck or on the bottom of the ocean near the island.
You can take a guided tour and listen to some of the fantastic real stories and accounts of these historical events. This museum is equally enjoyable for adults and children alike.
The Whaling Museum
If you have read Moby Dick or have been fascinated by all of the stories of the ships which traveled to faraway seas to capture whales, then this museum is the place to visit.
Nantucket was considered the “whaling capital of the world” for over a century. The majority of the island residents were part of the whaling ship crews that went on dangerous long adventures overseas. The result was a prosperous town, with captains building majestic mansions and the island women running the local businesses while the men were away.
The museum is dedicated to this essential part of the island’s history, which shaped its architecture, life, and community.
The museum is located in a renovated old whale oil factory downtown Nantucket. The first thing you will see is the gigantic skeleton of a sperm whale hanging from the ceiling.
There are various other unique exhibits, whaling tools, scrimshaw, whalebone decorations, and pictures and films depicting those heroic times.
At the museum, you will learn the history of the actual whaling ship, which a sperm whale sank, but its captain miraculously survived and returned to the island. It is the story that inspired the writing of Moby Dick and other famous novels and stories.
The Old Gaol
Gaol is pronounced jail, among the oldest jails in the USA. You can visit the Nantucket jail and explore and stand in a jail cell. The jail was used from 1805 to the 1930s to put away petty thieves, working girls, and some more intriguing local criminals.
If you visit the Old Gaol, you will learn more about some of these captivating stories of crime and embezzlement from centuries ago.
Even if you are not a big beer drinker, don’t worry. This outdoor brewery is located next to the Triple Eight Distillery and the Nantucket Vineyard. So, there is a tasting tour and a drink or two for every taste there.
This iconic place is not only a great spot to sit and enjoy some of the best local craft beers, wines, and spirits, but is also a fun-filled festival-like place, where there is live music, dancing, singing, food trucks, and partying every day during the summer season.
There are regular bus shuttles to and from the Cisco Brewery to town, and you can easily spend all day long in its beer garden, tasting rooms, and the open-air patio there.
Featured Image by Joy Mosenfelder from Pixabay